Three Angels Diner (CLOSED)

Sinking Into Brunch

A few months ago, I got the chance to meet one of my favorite food bloggers. Craig, the blogger for Memphis Que, has reviewed many barbecue and Soul Food restaurants in and around Memphis. Whenever I'm yearning for those types of food, his blog is my go-to guide. If you follow my blog, I often refer to his reviews whenever I write about a dining experience. I was fortunate to meet him for Sunday Brunch last August at Three Angels Diner. It's in the Broad Street Arts District that's close to where we live (Midtown’s Vollintine-Evergreen neighborhood).
During our brunch, we talked about a lot of stuff while we waited on our orders. For the most part, it was an enlightening conversation that I thoroughly enjoyed. Besides talking about food, I learned that Craig owns a wholesale automotive parts business that has him on the go. Like whenever I "temp," his job allows him to explore new restaurants. He seems to enjoy what he does, even when he's working outside on a hot summer day. Other than his job and food, we chatted about other things while waited for our orders. As a dining companion, Craig is a cool guy to hang with. If we ever have brunch at Three Angels again, I will bring my Peroni glass that Craig can drink out of (just kidding).

It didn't take long for our food to arrive. Craig ordered The Kitchen Sink, which is a huge plate of about every breakfast staple you can think of. Among the many items in it are fried eggs (2), beef brisket, bacon, sausage, cheese grits, potatoes, cheese and salsa. To me, it looked like Craig was eating for two, yet I could tell by the smile on his face that he loved it. I could only watch with envy because my order wasn't nearly as good.
While Craig ate a meal fit for a king, I had to eat like a pauper. I chose the frittata, which consists of three fried egg whites topped with bits of garlic, tomato, Gouda cheese, parsley and mint. Despite the toppings, the frittata didn't taste much different from most egg white dishes. It seems to me that no matter what you put on it, egg whites will always lack flavor. Of course, this is my opinion that some will disagree with. Personally, I should eat more egg whites to bolster my health, but I need a better incentive to do it. To make a somewhat lame analogy, Three Angels' frittata is to egg whites like the Toyota Prius is to hybrid/electric cars. Although the car is good for society, it doesn't stir excitement. On the other hand, a sharp looking Tesla with the same beneficial qualities could allow a person to do the right thing with style and panache. Someday, I hope to find an egg white "Tesla."
Before I go further, I want to stress that I wasn’t unhappy with the frittata. For what it is, it isn’t a bad breakfast/brunch entrée. It’s just that egg whites aren’t my cup of tea.
Fortunately, I ordered biscuits with my frittata. I’m glad I did, for the biscuits were extremely good. Although I could’ve eaten them “raw,” Three Angels’ homemade jam took the biscuits to another level. Combined, the frittata and biscuits made for a decent brunch. However, it wasn’t as good as my dining companion’s plate.
After watching Craig knock out his breakfast, determination drove me to get my own "Kitchen Sink." So, with the NBA season in full swing, I'm working enough hours at FedExForum to afford it. As I expected, Three Angels' premiere brunch entrée (available only on Sundays) was a lot to put down but it really hit the spot. Everything in it meshed well and tasted great. My only gripe was that I couldn't spice it up with hot sauce because the diner didn't have it. Instead, I got a bottle of hot salsa that didn't spice it in the way I wanted. My advice to Three Angels Diner: CARRY HOT SAUCE! It is the one thing that Southerners can agree on, regardless of race, class or creed. I hope the diner takes my advice and get a bottle of it. Other than that criticism, I really enjoyed The Kitchen Sink and look forward to having it again.

Colossal Grub

At this point, I would normally add my closing remarks about Three Angels Diner. However, I would be remiss if I didn't mention my favorite item on the menu, The Colossus. This is a burger that many people are talking about, including a blog inspired by it. Seth Agranov, the blogger for Best Memphis Burger, said The Colossus inspired him to seek out Memphis' best burgers. If a burger can motivate someone to do that, it must be amazing. Well, I can assure you that The Colossus is as good as advertised.

The foundation of The Colossus is its grass-fed organic beef patty. It is very lean and seasoned with a mix of salt and black pepper and likely marinated in what I believe is Worcestershire sauce. I tried to confirm this with one of the servers, but he wasn't sure. Regardless of what's in it, the beef is among the best I've tasted on a burger. It's almost as good as a steak, something that is not on Three Angel's menu. For meat being this good is a great example of the high standards that Three Angels implements in its food preparation.
Topping The Colossus' great beef patty is a pile of fixings that make the burger worthy of its name. Most of it is a mound of lettuce mixed with vinegar and what a server called "oil" (maybe olive oil). Called Diner Slaw, it is more like a small salad that complements the burger well. The fried onion strings and bacon give the burger a crunchy element that meshes well with the creamy smoked Gouda cheese. As a whole, everything on the burger is excellent and I wouldn't change a thing.
The only thing missing from this burger is fries. I believe it is sacrilege for a restaurant to not offer fries with a burger (especially in Memphis, America's fattest city). The two go together like cookies and cream and should be inseparable. However, many restaurants (including Cafe Eclectic, where Craig and I considered meeting) offer food choices that cater to the health conscious. While I'm not opposed to this, it would be nice if fries were an option. Speaking only for me, I feel that potato chips (even made by Three Angels) just don't cut it when I'm eating a burger.
Other than the lack of fries, The Colossus is an outstanding burger that I recommend meat lovers to try. It is a culinary masterpiece and one the best burgers in Memphis. Personally, I've rated Three Angels 5th on my list of favorite burger joints based solely on The Colossus. Someday, I'll get around to trying Three Angels' other burgers like the Diner Steamie. If they're half as good as The Colossus, it will be worth the trip. One thing that's certain is Three Angels will never disappoint anyone with a bad meal. Because of that, I plan on making many visits there in the future.

NOTE: Even though Three Angels Diner no longer exists, you can still get The Colossus at Maximo's on Broad, the restaurant that replaced Three Angels Diner at the former restaurant's address.


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